SOUTH YARMOUTH — The late New York Yankee and Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra said it best. “It’s like déjà vu all over again.”
For a second consecutive summer, the Brewster Whitecaps and Bourne Braves are set to square off in the Cape Cod Baseball League championship.
The defending champion Whitecaps made quick work of the Harwich Mariners and Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox to earn a shot at defending their title, while the Braves return to the premier collegiate summer league’s ultimate stage after upending the Falmouth Commodores and Hyannis Harbor Hawks in the West Division playoffs.
“You win one and feel like you’re playing with house money the next year,” Whitecaps manager Jamie Shevchik said. “I don’t know if anyone expects you to go back, but the competitor in me is pretty pumped up for this one. To have an opportunity to attempt to go back-to-back is awesome.
“These guys have busted their [butts] all year long – we went up and down and up and down, and now we’re playing our best baseball at the right time.”
Brewster and Bourne opened the best-of-three championship series Tuesday afternoon in Bourne after The Chronicle’s deadline. The Whitecaps were scheduled to host the second game at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, with a third game scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at Bourne, if necessary.
The Whitecaps claimed last year’s title with a 2-0 series sweep of the Braves, winning 2-0 on Aug. 10 before sealing the deal with a 10-6 win on their home diamond at Stony Brook Field.
Although many of the players from last year’s team are gone, Brewster’s newcomers understand what’s at stake against Bourne.
“This is what we’re here for. We’re here to win and win championships,” said Carson Demartini, a Whitecaps infielder from Virginia Tech who has posted a .533 batting average with four home runs and eight RBIs in four playoff games.
“It’s expected, but we have to earn it. So this is why we’re here.”
Demartini has hardly been the only Whitecap mashing the baseball in the batter’s box this postseason. David Mendham, a corner infielder from Oklahoma State, is hitting .545 with six hits, two homers and three RBIs in four postseason games. Four other players – Nick Lorusso, Kurtis Byrne, Chase Adkison and Cameron Fisher – carry postseason batting averages greater than .300 into the championship series.
“We’re obviously piecing it together on the mound and we’re swinging it,” Shevchik said. “We had a lot of guys step up and that’s what we need to do, kind of fill in the missing pieces around Demartini, and who knows what can happen in these last couple days.”
The Whitecaps won’t overlook the Braves. Shevchik and his coaching staff have a strong respect for the West Division champion and its coaching staff, some of whom has strong ties to Brewster.
First-year Braves manager Scott Landers joined the team after serving as the Whitecaps’ pitching coach on last year’s championship team. Bourne’s pitching coach, Brad Cook, played two seasons of college ball for Shevchik at Keystone College in Pennsylvania.
“Scott’s a really good friend of mine and their pitching coach pitched for me in college and coached with me,” Shevchik said. “We have a big coach connection and it would be really cool to play against those guys.”
After earning 9-7 and 5-3 victories over Harwich in the division semifinals and 6-3 and 9-7 wins over Y-D, the Whitecaps enter the final series confident about what they can accomplish. It’s the same mindset that has gotten them this far.
“We’re feeling good but not much different than how we’ve been feeling,” Demartini said. “You can’t get too high on your highs or too low on your lows, so we’re just trying to keep it even keeled and keep playing good baseball.”
Demartini said Shevchik and his coaching staff have done a fantastic job of establishing a winning culture that this year’s group will look to maintain.
“They built it last year and even a few years before that, so they’re just keeping that culture going,” the infielder said. “They do the best job around here.”
Watch The Chronicle's website at www.capecodchronicle.com for results of the upcoming championship series.
Email Brad Joyal at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @BradJoyal